Experience Litigating Paxil Injuries and Wrongful Death Cases
For more than 30 years, Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman has represented thousands of victims harmed by drug-induced injuries and wrongful death. Our firm has handled personal injury, wrongful death and consumer class action cases against some of the world’s largest drug companies, including GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the manufacturer of Paxil.
Our attorneys have litigated various types of cases against GSK. Baum Hedlund filed its first Paxil injury lawsuit against GSK in 2001. In that litigation, our firm was appointed lead counsel in charge of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee for the Paxil Products Liability Litigation (Multidistrict Litigation MDL-1574) in which we represented thousands of people from across the United States dealing with Paxil injuries.
The Black Box warning for Paxil states that there is a risk for suicide among children, adolescents and young adults, but the risk ends at age 24. On Sept. 1, 2017, our firm sent a letter to Apotex, putting the company on notice that the Paxil warning label is inadequate, and we intend to hold them accountable for failing to fully disclose the increased risk of suicide for all patients, not just people age 24 and under.
Baum Hedlund currently represents the widow of Stewart Dolin, a prominent Chicago attorney who committed suicide after being on paroxetine (generic Paxil) for six days. Mr. Dolin was 57 at the time of his death.
On July 10, 2010, 57-year-old Stewart Dolin began taking the prescription antidepressant medication paroxetine. The brand name version of this medication, called Paxil, was researched, developed, manufactured and marketed by GlaxoSmithKline (“GSK”). People use the term Paxil to refer to brand name Paxil and, sometimes, to generic paroxetine. Generic and name brand Paxil are the same chemical compound and both use the same product information labeling. GSK created and was responsible for maintaining the accuracy of the Paxil label, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges GSK failed to adequately warn Mr. Dolin’s doctor about Paxil/paroxetine’s association with an increased risk of suicidal behavior in adults of all ages. The Court previously ruled that, although GSK did not manufacture the pills Mr. Dolin ingested, the company was responsible for the label and knew or should have known any failure to warn would result in harm to those taking generic versions of the drug.
In the early afternoon on July 15, 2010, Stewart Dolin died when he was struck by a CTA Blue-Line train in the subway station near Washington Street in Chicago. Just before this, a nurse at the subway station, who did not know Mr. Dolin, noticed he was pacing back and forth while looking in the direction of an approaching train that was not yet in sight. When the moving train appeared, the nurse observed Mr. Dolin leap in front of the train, where he was struck. Ultimately, Mr. Dolin was pronounced dead from the injuries he suffered due to the collision and his contact with the electrified track after the collision.
According to the lawsuit, Stewart Dolin exhibited classic symptoms of akathisia—a drug-induced phenomenon that causes extreme restlessness, agitation and mental distress—before he took his own life. Akathisia has been linked to suicidal and homicidal behavior.
The only other Paxil suicide case (which involved a triple homicide) to go to trial was in 2001 in Cheyenne, Wyoming and resulted in a multi-million-dollar verdict in favor of the Plaintiff. This murder-suicide case, known as Tobin v. SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, involved Donald Schell, who shot and killed his wife, his daughter, his granddaughter and then himself while under the influence of Paxil.
Plaintiff Wendy B. Dolin originally filed her lawsuit against GSK on July 9, 2012 in Circuit Court of Cook County. She is seeking damages for negligence and wrongful death arising from her husband’s paroxetine-induced distress and suicidal behavior leading to his death in 2010.
The firm has been litigating Paxil suicide and suicide attempt cases for over a decade. As a result of this litigation, Baum Hedlund has collected hundreds of thousands of pages of internal GSK documents and conducted dozens of depositions of GSK executives, employees, physicians, researchers and academics.
The following depositions were taken from GSK executives relating to Paxil suicide cases:
Click the icon in the upper left corner for more deposition videos
In the first video, former GSK CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier says in his testimony that GSK’s way of counting suicidal behavior events in GSK’s Paxil clinical trials was incorrect.
In the next deposition, GlaxoSmithKline biostatistician John Davies is questioned about GSK’s improperly counting suicidal behavior and its effect on calculating suicide risk rates during Paxil clinical trials.
Lastly, former GlaxoSmithKline executive Dr. Geoffrey Dunbar says in his testimony that he helped author the drafts of the Paxil suicide report that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked for in 1991. The calculations in this report showed and suggested that instead of Paxil increasing the suicide risk by nearly nine times, the drug decreased suicidal behavior.He admits in his deposition that his reports include improperly counted suicidal behavior events and that publications in which he participated in writing, had incorrectly conveyed that Paxil reduced suicidal behavior.
We have seen the harm antidepressants can cause and the extent to which drug companies will go to protect their enormously profitable drugs and we and our clients have testified about this to the FDA. Baum Hedlund has accumulated a considerable body of evidence demonstrating that Paxil is associated with an increased risk of suicidal behavior in all age groups, not just children and young adults, as the current label states.
GSK has been aware of the risk for many years and, although the current label now warns of the risk in children and young adults, it still does not warn the public of the risk in older adults.
In 2004, the FDA asked antidepressant manufacturers to add a black box warning to their labels to alert healthcare providers to an increased risk of suicidality in children and adolescents caused by antidepressants.
In May 2007, the FDA asked antidepressant manufacturers to expand the black box warnings to include young adults, but only up to age 24. Since 2007, the Paxil label has stated the suicidal behavior risk does not extend beyond age 24, even though GSK’s own clinical trials show the risk of Paxil injuries and suicidal behavior extends to adults of all ages.
GSK divested responsibility for paroxetine (the generic name for Paxil) in the United States to Apotex, Inc. in January, 2014.
Baum Hedlund began litigating Private Attorney General consumer fraud class action lawsuits against GSK in 2004 on behalf of individuals and entities (insurance companies, state medical welfare agencies) in California, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.
The cases were based on internal GSK documents showing that GSK falsely promoted Paxil as an effective medication for children and adolescents despite internal communications acknowledging that Paxil’s pediatric depression clinical trials failed to out-perform sugar pills, yet had higher suicidality rates than sugar pills.
Notwithstanding, GSK promoted Paxil as being “remarkably safe and effective” for depressed children. A settlement was reached in April 2007 wherein GSK agreed to reimburse parents for all of the money they paid for their children’s Paxil prescriptions.
Baum Hedlund’s consumer fraud cases on behalf of the entities class (state agencies, insurance companies), settled for $40 million in 2008. This Paxil injuries settlement reimbursed insurance companies for their costs in insuring Paxil purchases paid for by the parents of minors prescribed Paxil or Paxil CR.